Back to Black is close to finding its Amy. Variety reported on July 28 that the upcoming Amy Winehouse biopic is in talks with Marisa Abela, who currently plays hyperqualified Yasmin on Industry, to portray the late singer, adding that Abela “is a frontrunner” and there’s “a small group of other actors” still vying for the role. But Abela fits a lot of what the team — including director Sam Taylor-Johnson, a friend of Winehouse’s, and Mitch Winehouse, Amy’s father — is allegedly looking for. Per Variety, Abela’s Jewish background is important, as is the 25-year-old’s just burgeoning fame. Mitch told the Sun in 2018 that he wanted “an unknown, young, English — London, cockney — actress who looks a bit like Amy” to play his daughter as opposed to a massive star like Lady Gaga. As for matching Winehouse’s legendary vocals, Abela has never sung on screen, although her profile on the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art lists singing as a skill. Surely, the team would’ve said no, no, no to someone without the vocal chops, right?
There has been plenty of talk of a biopic since Amy Winehouse’s death; studios left and right are trying to make a film about the late singer’s life, especially after the Amy documentary won the Oscar in 2015. While many have not made it past development, there is a new candidate that might make it into theaters. Deadline reported on July 11 that Studiocanal has an Amy Winehouse biopic moving quickly, with Sam Taylor-Johnson (Fifty Shades of Grey) directing. Written by Matt Greenhalgh, the film will look at the London singer’s life up until her death in 2011. The Amy Winehouse estate is reportedly supporting the film, despite recent objections to other adaptations of Winehouse’s life.
Several Winehouse biopics have been developed since her death, but none have come to fruition. Winehouse’s family agreed to a biopic deal with Monumental pictures in 2018 to have her life story adapted by Kinky Boots writer Geoff Deane. Lotus Entertainment cast Noomi Rapace as Winehouse in 2015, with Kristen Sheridan directing, but that project ultimately did not get made. In late 2021, another biopic, Saving Amy, was reportedly in the works from Halcyon Studios, despite Winehouse’s father’s objections. The Winehouse hologram is waiting in the wings to audition.
This post has been updated.